With Photokina behind us and the unprecedented amount of new cameras and lenses announced over the past few months, we’ve had some time to let the dust settle, and there is something very interesting about just how differently Canon and Nikon are approaching the full frame mirrorless camera market. The question is: who is right?
Over the past few months, both Canon and Nikon have released their first full frame mirrorless cameras, Canon with the EOS R and Nikon with the Z7. Canon markets the EOS R as a sort of prosumer/enthusiast-level camera along the lines of the 6D Mark II and priced to match at $2,300 for the body — very similar to the 6D Mark II's price on release. This contrasts the Nikon Z7, which is being touted as a sort of mirrorless D850, and its $3,400 price tag suits this comparison very well.
While two cameras having different prices isn’t interesting, when we take a deeper look into their currently available, upcoming, and rumored lenses, we can see the different approaches that Nikon and Canon are taking with their mirrorless full frame cameras. Alongside Canon’s enthusiast-level camera, they have released four lenses: the 28-70 f/2L zoom, the 50mm f/1.2L, the 24-105 f/4L, and the 35mm f/1.8 Macro. If you notice, three of those four lenses are L branded, Canon’s professional-level branding.
Comparatively, Nikon’s currently available lenses for the Z7 are the 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, and the 24-70mm f/4. Now, I’m not saying that any of these lenses are bad lenses; they’re probably fantastic pieces of glass. But the 1.8 apertures really showcase that Nikon doesn’t necessarily seem to be targeting professionals with their lenses yet. They seem to be starting out by introducing a professional body and mostly prosumer lenses, while Canon seems to be releasing a prosumer body and professional lenses. It’s definitely an interesting approach from the both of them, but whose is better?
In my personal opinion, I feel that Canon’s approach is the proper route for now and the near-future (though in five or ten years, everything should all balance out). I’ve heard a great saying: “marry lenses, date bodies." Canon seems to really be banking on this outlook for their new mirrorless system. With the EOS R is seemingly targeted towards enthusiasts, their lenses are priced and specced towards professionals, and with their rumoured 14-21mm f/1.4L, Canon seems to be going all in on people buying the EOS R with the plan to upgrade in a year or two but buying their lenses to stay in the bag for much much longer.
On the contrary, with the Z7, Nikon seems to be selling their pro-level camera first and banking on people either adapting their current glass with the FTZ mount adapter or buying lenses that are mostly going to get replaced once the 2.8/1.4 variants get released. I feel that both are respectable, smart approaches, and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts. But really, don’t we all win by having such fierce competition giving us better tools?